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Janis Roberts v Careflite 2nd Court of Appeal

Janis Roberts v Careflite 2nd Court of Appeal

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Published by Robert Wilonsky

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Published by: Robert Wilonsky on Oct 08, 2012
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08/14/2013

 
 
COURT OF APPEALS
 
SECOND DISTRICT OF TEXASFORT WORTH
 
NO. 02-12-00105-CV
JANIS E. ROBERTS APPELLANTV.CAREFLITE APPELLEE----------FROM THE 236TH DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY----------
MEMORANDUM OPINION
1
 
---------- Appellant Janis E. Roberts sued her former employer Appellee CareFlitefor unlawful termination under 
Sabine Pilot 
2
and for invasion of privacy. CareFlitefiled a combined traditional and no-evidence motion for summary judgment,which the trial court granted without specifying the grounds. In one issue,Roberts now appeals the grant of summary judgment on her claim of invasion of 
1
See
Tex. R. App. P.
 
47.4.
2
Sabine Pilot Serv., Inc. v. Hauck 
, 687 S.W.2d 733 (Tex. 1985).
 
 
2privacy by intrusion on seclusion. Because we hold that the trial court did not err by granting summary judgment for CareFlite, we affirm the t
rial court’s judgment
.CareFlite employed Roberts as a paramedic.
Roberts was “friends” on
thewebsite Facebook.com with fellow CareFlite paramedic Robert Sumien andCareFlite helicopter pilot Scott Schoenhardt. Roberts posted on the Facebookwall of Schoenhardt that she had transported a patient who needed restrainingand that she wanted to slap the patient.Sheila Calvert is a compliance officer with CareFlite. Her sister, Delicia
Haynes, is a CareFlite member. Haynes saw Roberts’s wall posting and no
tifiedCalvert. Calvert sent a message to Roberts through Facebook. In her message,Calvert stated:I just wanted to remind you that the public sees your posts. Peopleoutside of CareFlite and outside of EMS. In fact, my sister saw your post to Scott Schoenhardt where you stated you wanted to slap a
patient[,] and she thought she wouldn’t want anyone such as thattaking care of her and made the comment that maybe she didn’t
want to renew her CareFlite membership.
People you don’t expect
to see your post
s do. I’ll bet Scott has many friends in EMS[,] and all
any of them would have to do is a screen shot and send it in to thestate and you could be looking at a suspension of your EMS licenseand fines.
Believe me, I’m not trying to come down on you about
 this.
I’m trying to help you realize that people out there are losingtheir jobs and livelihood because of such posts[,] and I don’t want tosee that happen to you. If you don’t believe me, just google it or if 
you like I can send you some links to articles. I hope you willconsider removing that post.Roberts responded with a message to Calvert that stated:Yeah, whatever.
YOU weren’t there. Whenever I have to have afirefighter ride in with me because of a patient’s attitude, and I fear 
 
 
3for MY safety, I truly believe a patient needs an attitude adjustment.Think about that the next time YOU correct someone!!
Calvert responded to Roberts, again with a message sent through Facebook’s
messaging feature, stating:I was trying to be nice about the situation and provide you acourteous reminder of the regulations in which you practice in the
state and the public’s perception. [Rule 157.36(b)(28) of the Texas
 Administrative Code
3
] states you cannot engage in activities whichbetray[]
the public’s trust in
EMS. I believe your comment couldhave done that. Additionally, CareFlite has policies againstemployees calling into question our honesty, integrity[,] or reputation. I understand you had a difficult call and patient.
I’ve also
had my share of those. That information should not bebroadcasted[,] however. I can show you an article where a Kansasmedic had his license suspended for 90 days, tons of legal bills, andhad to bag groceries during that time because he posted aderogatory remark about his ob
ese patient. As far as me “thinking
about that before I correct someone[,]
” . . . I’m the ComplianceOfficer for CareFlite[,] and it’s my job.
We can have thatconversation later and off [Facebook].
Roberts responded with a message stating, “[By the way], I didn’t slap the
patient, I was not rude to the family OR the patient and the call went verysm
oothly, thank you for asking.”
Roberts did delete her comment fromSchoenhardt
’s wall.
 Roberts later posted on her own Facebook wall, statingYes, I DO get upset on some calls when my patient goes off in thehouse and I have to have a firefighter ride in with me because I fear for MY own safety. I think that is a valid excuse for wanting to usesome sort of restraints. Just saying!!
3
25 Tex. Admin. Code § 157.36(b)(28)
(2012) (Tex. Dep’t of State Health
Serv., Criteria for Denial and Disciplinary Actions for EMS Personnel and Applicant and Voluntary Surrender of a Certificate or License).

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